What's the best laundry detergent for the money? Consumer Reports has stepped in with new advice.

Who does the best job of getting your clothes clean?

A recent tally gives "recommended" checkmarks to 3 detergents for high-efficiency (HE) and standard washers.

  • Persil ProClean Power-Liquid 2in1 (Walmart) at 25 cents per load
  • Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release for 25 cents per load
  • Tide HE Plus Bleach Alternative at 20 cents per load

The Persil scores an 85 out of 100 -- the highest entry on the tally -- while both Tides score an 80.

The cheapest laundry detergent of all is Xtra Plus OxiClean for just 6 cents a load. But it only scored a 35. Moving up the quality ladder while still focusing on price, you have Kirkland Signature Free & Clear at 11 cents a load (score of 60) and White Cloud Laundry Detergent (Walmart) for 7 cents a load (score of 70).

When it comes to laundry detergent for standard top-loaders, the only one to get the "recommended" checkmark was Tide Ultra Free & Gentle. At 28 cents a load, it scored a lowly 61 -- still the best score in its class.

Not really into commercial laundry detergents? Try making your own at home to save even more money. We've got a great homemade laundry detergent recipe to share with you. It takes about 20 minutes to make and works out to cost only 6 cents a load!

Read more: 11 ways to pay less for appliances

You may be washing your clothes all wrong

Did you know somewhere between 60 and 65 degrees is the optimal temperature to wash clothes in? That's according to Consumer Reports again. "Detergents are formulated with enzymes that kick into action even at 60 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Pat Slaven, a chemical engineer who has worked as a detergent tester for the magazine for 10 years. 

Once the water temperature reaches above 75 degrees, detergents becomes less effective, and the heat can actually help stains set into the clothing. Hotter water can also damage some fabrics and colors.

For more on how to properly wash your clothes, read this article.

Read more: Credit card is the best way to purchase furniture and appliances

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Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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